Drug runner, 19 loses jail appeal

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A TEENAGE drugs runner caught by an undercover police operation to rid Sheffield city centre of narcotics has been told by top judges he cannot complain about his prison sentence.

Corry Walters, aged 19, of Willington Road, Firth Park, Sheffield, was locked up for two years and eight months at the city’s crown court in May, after admitting five counts of supplying Class A drugs.

Some of the deals were carried out during the daytime in a phone box near Springfield Primary School, while children were at school.

But Walters challenged his sentence at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with lawyers arguing it was ‘too long’ for his crimes.

His appeal was dismissed by two of the country’s most senior judges, who said the term was ‘not excessive’.

Mrs Justice Cox, sitting with Mr Justice Cranston, told the court Walters was just 17 when he sold three wraps of heroin and two of cocaine to undercover officers in November 2009.

He was acting as a runner for another man who had arranged the deals with the officers over the telephone.

Mrs Justice Cox said the inner-city area covered by the police operation was targeted following public concern about drug dealing being conducted openly in the streets.

She added: “Community groups had been actively trying to improve the area. However, drug abuse and the problems it brought in its wake had continued to be a problem.

“Police had to devise other methods to deal with the problem, so they used plain-clothes police officers who pretended to be drug users.”

The court heard the operation lasted for 13 months and officers – who the judge said had put themselves in danger by going undercover – made about 40 arrests.

Walters’ lawyers urged the appeal judges to reduce his sentence, arguing it was too long given his youth and the fact he has made good progress in youth detention.

But, dismissing the appeal, Mrs Justice Cox said the jail term was ‘not excessive’, adding: “We find we are unable to say the judge erred in any way in the sentence which he imposed.

“He clearly took into account all the relevant factors, including the appellant’s young age. These were serious offences for all the reasons the judge identified.”